Days 1 and 2: Sun 6 and Mon 7 October 2024 - UK to Perth
We fly London to Perth overnight and transfer to our comfortable city hotel to relax after travelling. After a long journey there are no birding activities planned, though our local guide will meet us at the hotel for a short briefing. Overnight Perth for one night.
Day 3: Tue 8 October - Perth to Cheynes Beach
After breakfast we board our vehicles and travel to Cheynes Beach on the south coast of Western Australia. Despite being mainly a travel day, our birding stops en-route will already be targeting endemics and South Western specialities. The first of these may be Western Wattlebird and Gilbert’s Honeyeater, both of which are possible at the Darling Range before we continue to the Beaufort River to look for Pink-eared Duck, Elegant Parrot, Brown-headed Honeyeater, Rufous Songlark, White-winged Triller with perhaps Painted Buttonquail and Black-tailed Native-hen too. Rocky Gully near Kojonup, gives us our first chance to see Western Corella and Baudin's Black Cockatoo, and we have further chances of the latter along with Scarlet Robin near Mount Barker. We hope to arrive at Cheynes Beach late afternoon, and once settled can have a short search for Noisy Scrub-bird and other local specialities nearby. Overnight Cheynes Beach for three nights.
Day 4: Wed 9 October - Cheynes Beach and Waychinicup Inlet
A pre-breakfast stroll will give us more chances of Noisy Scrub-bird and also Western Bristlebird, two key endemics of the region. Staying local after breakfast, along the beach and in coastal scrub we look for Rock Parrot, Black-throated Whipbird, White-breasted Robin, Red-winged and Splendid Fairy-wren, Western Wattlebird, Western Spinebill, Red-eared Firetail, Southern Emu-wren, Brush Bronzewing, Brown Quail, Sooty Oystercatcher and Pacific Gull. Relocating to Waychinicup Inlet, further possibilities include Red-eared Firetail, Gilbert's Honeyeater, Carnaby's and Baudin's Black Cockatoo, Swamp Harrier and White-bellied Sea-Eagle. We have good chances of mammals too, both by day and night, and tonight's evening spotlight excursion may unearth Southern Brown Bandicoot and Bush Rat along with several species of frog and reptile.
Day 5: Thur 10 October - Stirling Range and Albany
This morning we drive inland to the Stirling Range National Park, a special protection area for many endangered and key species in South-west Australia. Here we look for Emu, Hooded Plover, Carnaby's Black Cockatoo, Elegant and Regent Parrot, Purple-crowned Lorikeet, Western Yellow Robin, Scarlet Robin and Restless Flycatcher. We may also encounter Crested Shrike-tit, Australian Owlet-nightjar, Square-tailed Kite, Little Eagle, Rufous Songlark, Southern Emu-wren and Western (Rufous) Field-wren during our time here. The area is also superb for wildflowers, with 1,500 plant species recorded within its boundaries, of which 87 are restricted to the National Park.
After lunch, we travel south to the Albany coast for more chances of our endemic targets and perhaps Buff-banded Rail and stunning Fairy Tern too. Other seabirds and a few waders are also likely, and we have the option of visiting another site for Western Bristlebird and Blasck-throated Whipbird if we still haven’t seen them. On our return to Cheynes Beach, another chance to look for nocturnal birds and mammals by spotlight may be offered after dinner.
Day 6: Fri 11 October- Fitzgerald River NP and Jerramungup
Leaving Cheynes Beach, we travel east to Fitzgerald River National Park to look for Chestnut Teal, Black-fronted Dotterel, Black-throated Whipbird, Shy Heath-wren and Western (Rufous) Field-wren. After lunch we drive to Jerramungup for a true 'outback adventure'!
We plan to visit a Malleefowl nesting mound, a curious nest of sand and rotting vegetation, inside a depression scraped between stunted trees. By collecting organic material to fill it, the male creates a mound up to two feet above ground level, full of sticks, leaves, bark and sandy soil. He regulates the temperature of the mound while incubating the eggs, and defends it for the rest of the year. This gives us our best chance of viewing this distinctive and elusive bird, the only surviving member of its genus.
Other key species here include Banded Lapwing, Purple-gaped and Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Southern Scrub-robin, Crested Bellbird, White-browed Babbler, Spotted Pardalote and Blue-breasted Fairy-wren. There is also a high chance of seeing Western Brush Wallaby and other mammals close to our base in Jerramungup where we stay for one night.
Day 7: Sat 12 October- Wagin Lakes, transfer to Narrogin
We have the opportunity to revisit the Malleefowl 'mound' before breakfast for a second chance if needed to see this unique bird. Later we return to areas of the Stirling Range again for key species, before continuing to Gnowangerup, Katanning and then to Wagin. The latter destination hosts several lakes, where we may see Banded Stilt, Red-necked Avocet, Hooded Plover, Black-fronted and Red-kneed Dotterel, Pallid Cuckoo, Horsfield's Bronze-Cuckoo, Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, Mistletoebird, Red-capped Robin and Mulga Parrot. We expect to arrive Narrogin late afternoon and may have time for a mammal excursion before dinner. Overnight Narrogin for two nights.
Day 8: Sun 13 October - Dryandra State Forest, Narrogin
This will be a long yet productive day, exploring the wildlife of the Dryandra State Forest to its fullest. Key bird targets include Bush Stone-curlew, Painted Button-quail, Carnaby's Black Cockatoo, Elegant Parrot, Rufous Treecreeper, Blue-breasted Fairy-wren, Western Thornbill, Yellow-plumed, Brown-headed, Gilbert's and White-eared Honeyeater, White-browed Babbler, Varied Sittella, Jacky Winter, Scarlet, Hooded and Red-capped Robin, Western Yellow Robin, and Crested Shrike-tit. Mammals will also feature, and we search for Numbat in the late afternoon and then after an early dinner take a walk in an important and successful conservation area where (within an extensive fenced enclosure to deter predators) we may encounter Bilby, Boodie, Rufous and Banded Hare-wallaby and others. As we return to our hotel after dark, we will spotlight for Tawny Frogmouth and a variety of mammals including Brush-tailed Possum, Short-beaked Echidna, Western Brush Wallaby, Tammar Wallaby and Woylie.
Day 9: Mon 14 October- Narrogin to Perth
A flexible morning, our activities depending on the species we might not have yet seen. Before returning to Perth, we have options near Narrogin for Regent Parrot, Hooded Robin, Crested Shrike-tit, Red-eared Firetail, Baudin's Black Cockatoo, White-fronted Chat, Rufous and Brown Songlark, Gilbert's Honeyeater, Western Wattlebird and Fairy Tern. After time driving, the afternoon will be spent around the Perth wetlands for species including Blue-billed, Pink-eared, Musk and Freckled Duck, Australasian Shoveler, Hoary-headed Grebe, Nankeen Night-Heron, Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Buff-banded Rail, Australian and Spotless Crake, Swamp Harrier and Australian Hobby. After an enjoyable final afternoon birding, we travel to our accommodation in the city where we stay for one night, expecting to arrive late-afternoon.
Day 10: Tue 15 October - Depart Perth
This morning we depart Perth and fly back to the UK overnight, arriving on Day 11, Wed 16 October.
Our thanks go to Keith Kennedy for many of the images used in the Gallery.